Money Supply Growth Went Negative for the Third Month in a Row, and Is Near a 35-Year Low
Money supply growth fell again in January, falling even further into negative territory after turning negative in November 2022 for the first time in twenty-eight years. January’s drop continues a steep downward trend from the unprecedented highs experienced during much of the past two years.
Since April 2021, money supply growth has slowed quickly, and since November, we’ve been seeing the money supply contract for the first time since the 1990s. The last time the year-over-year (YOY) change in the money supply slipped into negative territory was in November 1994. At that time, negative growth continued for fifteen months, finally turning positive again in January 1996.
During January 2023, YOY growth in the money supply was at –5.04 percent. That’s down from December’s rate of –02.19 percent and down from January 2022’s rate of 6.82 percent. With negative growth now dipping below -5 percent, money-supply contraction is approaching the biggest declines we’ve seen in the past thirty-five years. Only during brief periods of 1989 and 1995 did the money supply fall as much. At no point for at least sixty years has the money supply fallen by more than 5.6 percent in any month.
The money supply metric used here—the “true,” or Rothbard-Salerno, money supply measure (TMS)—is the metric developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno, and is designed to provide a better measure of money supply fluctuations than M2.
The Mises Institute now offers regular updates on this metric and its growth. This measure of the money supply differs from M2 in that it includes Treasury deposits at the Fed (and excludes short-time deposits and retail money funds).
In recent months, M2 growth rates have followed a similar course to TMS growth rates, although TMS has fallen faster than M2. In January 2023, the M2 growth rate was –1.76 percent. That’s down from December’s growth rate of –1.16 percent. January’s rate was also well down from January 2022’s rate of 11.6 percent.
Money supply growth can often be a helpful measure of economic activity and an indicator of coming recessions. During periods of economic boom, money supply tends to grow quickly as commercial banks make more loans. Recessions, on the other hand, tend to be preceded by slowing rates of money supply growth. However, money supply growth tends to begin growing again before the onset of recession.
Negative money supply growth is not in itself an especially meaningful metric. But the drop into negative territory we’ve seen in recent months does help illustrate just how far and how rapidly money supply growth has fallen in recent months. That is generally a red flag for economi
Article from LewRockwell